Reviews

October 18, 2013

A Prism of Hidden Meanings: On László Krasznahorkai’s Seiobo There Below  1

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Moving beyond localized meaning, the stories challenge us to examine the psychology of our moment, a time in which our inability to understand the sacred paralyzes us in its presence.

October 18, 2013

Portrait of a Runner: On Mark Slouka’s Brewster 0

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It gives me great pleasure to picture the Apostle of Democracy doing quarter-mile repeats on the lawn of Monticello, perhaps in preparation for a match race with his Federalist challenger John Adams at the Founding Fathers Relays. But I digress.

October 14, 2013

When the Stars Align: On Eleanor Catton’s The Luminaries 7

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Under the sign of Libra, the reading public will be gifted that rarest literary treasure, a book of such dazzling breadth and scope that it defies any label short of masterpiece.

October 9, 2013

A Little Bit Beta: On Dave Eggers’s The Circle 15

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The Circle occupies an awkward place of satire and self-importance.

October 9, 2013

A Poet Goes Commercial: Nicholson Baker’s Traveling Sprinkler 2

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Working poet Paul Chowder from The Anthologist returns in Nicholson Baker’s new novel, Traveling Sprinkler, which isn’t so much a sequel as a remake. It is a novel-rhyme; the two comprise a couplet.

October 8, 2013

The Danger in Cohesion: Tom Perrotta’s Nine Inches 1

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Taken as a collection, Nine Inches reveals a fatal flaw that undermines the skilled artistry: Perrotta’s heavy hand.

October 3, 2013

The Life that Develops In-Between: On Elizabeth Graver’s The End of the Point 7

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Unless you’re kicking it with the Compsons or Buendias, say, it usually takes a little bit of readerly patience to get through a multigenerational family story. One has to be on one’s game, in terms of care and attention. Nobody wants to spend several hundred pages with a bunch of allegorical figures sitting around the dinner table and passing each other the salt.

October 1, 2013

A Slingshot Full of Stories: Malcolm Gladwell’s David and Goliath 13

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In David and Goliath, Gladwell appears to have started with an answer and then gone looking for people to prove him right.

September 30, 2013

Screwing Up and Falling in Love: Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor & Park and Fangirl 1

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Both books are about how falling in love for the first time, particularly if you’ve never seen a love story you can relate to, can be as terrifying and confusing as it is joyful.

September 30, 2013

You Must Read Kevin Barry 2

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Kevin Barry’s new collection of stories, Dark Lies the Island, shares the virtues that made his debut novel, City of Bohane, such an astonishment. There is rich music, high humor and deep blackness on every page.